USW Reacts to Trade Case Vote on Tariffs Against OCTG China Pipe Imports

Contact:  Gary Hubbard (USW) – 202-778-4384; 202-256-8125; ghubbard@usw.org

Washington D.C. – The United Steelworkers (USW) reacted positively to today’s affirmative 6-0 vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on a petition in the anti-subsidy portion of a case against Chinese pipe imports called oil country tubular goods (OCTG).

USW International President Leo W. Gerard declared, “Today’s vote by the trade commission makes it clear to American pipe workers and industry that the U.S. government will standup against China’s violation of fair trade rules when domestic job losses and industry injury are clearly demonstrated.”

He added, “We are fed up with China’s constant cheating and false claims of U.S. protectionism, when it is China that practices illegal state subsidization and dumping that seeks to destroy good jobs and fair competition under WTO standards their leaders agreed to abide.”

He said the future of 6,000 workers employed by eight OCTG pipe producers and their communities are at stake in an industry segment where nearly half of the domestic workforce has been laid off at different times since the case was jointly filed in April by the USW and the participating companies. The pipe imports case is the largest in U.S. history with imports valued at $2.74 billion in 2008.

According to the USW’s trade counsel, Roger B. Schagrin of Schagrin Associates in Washington, the level of countervailing duties to offset Chinese government subsidies to be imposed in mid-January, range from 10.5 to 16 percent.  The antidumping portion of the pending trade case against OCTG imports from China will be decided on April 1, 2010.  Preliminary antidumping duties of 96 percent are currently pending against all, but one of the Chinese exporters. 

Gerard testified before the trade commission on Dec. 1, 2009 at the final injury hearing saying the domestic OCTG pipe producers lost 2,421 workers between the end of 2008 and September 2009.

The final injury hearing featured nine members of the U.S. House, three U.S. Senators, the governors from Ohio and Pennsylvania, plus the mayor of Youngstown – who all joined Gerard and the executives of the petitioner companies calling for enforcement of current trade laws to counter the unfairly-traded OCTG imports from China.

In addition to the USW as co-petitioner, the eight producers on the OCTG petition are:  U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa.; Maverick Tube Corp., Hickman, Ark.; Evraz Rocky Mountain Steel, Pueblo, Colo.; Northwest Pipe, Vancouver, Wash.;  TMK IPSCO, Downers Grove, Ill.; V&M Star, LLP, Houston, Tx.; V&M TCA, Houston, Tx.; and Wheatland Tube Corp., Beachwood, Oh.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway said that this case against China will impact jobs in the entire supply chain for OCTG pipe, including those making flat rolled steel, producing coke and mining iron ore.

“This unfair and illegal trade already has cost thousands of jobs, and thousands more are at stake,” Conway said. “It’s little wonder so many elected legislative and executive officials are making their voices heard on this important matter.”

Members of both congressional houses signed onto letters to ITC Chairman Shara L. Aranoff supporting the USW and other petitioners’ position, including 47 members of the House and 13 senators. In presenting the House version of the letter before the ITC, Rep. Betty Sutton (Ohio) explained the imperative for the industry and its workers to obtain relief from the unfairly traded OCTG imports from China.

Click here for testimony on OCTG pipe by USW President Gerard before the trade commission.

Access U.S. House  (47 signatures) and Senate  (13 signatures) letters supporting the domestic OCTG pipe industry.

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